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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Sep 1984; 81(18): 5782–5786.
PMCID: PMC391795

Differential expression of mRNAs for alpha- and beta-tubulin during differentiation of the parasitic protozoan Leishmania mexicana.


The parasitic protozoan Leishmania mexicana amazonensis has two developmental stages: a motile flagellated promastigote stage and a sessile intracellular amastigote stage. In our previous work, cells of the promastigote stage were found to synthesize more tubulin protein than those of the amastigote stage. Here, tubulin mRNAs in these leishmanias were analyzed. Based on dot blot hybridization between total leishmanial RNA and tubulin-specific cDNA probes derived from chicken brain, amastigotes and promastigotes were found to have approximately equal amounts of alpha- and beta-tubulin mRNAs. RNA blotting of leishmanial RNA, using chicken tubulin cDNA probes, showed that amastigotes and promastigotes both gave a single mRNA species of 2100 nucleotides for alpha-tubulin in roughly similar quantities. However, such analysis for beta-tubulin revealed mainly a single mRNA species of 3600 nucleotides for amastigotes and three species of 2800, 3600, and 4400 nucleotides for promastigotes, the smallest mRNA being the most predominant. Thus, regulation of gene expression appears to be different only for beta-tubulin between the two developmental stages of this protozoan.

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